The Penrith Panthers have introduced, young gun, Dallin Watene Zelezniak to the NRL as they ground out a 12-6 victory over the Raiders at a rain soaked Sportingbet Stadium.
A brave crowd of 7,667 weathered the conditions as Mother Nature opened the heavens. The wet conditions made ball handling impossible with errors costing both sides possession throughout the match.
Over the past few weeks, the Rugby League community has been rising for Alex McKinnon who sustained a neck fracture in Round 3. The concern immediately rushed to Joel Edwards as he was knocked to ground after heavy contact from Watene Zelezniak. Luckily however, Edwards only sustained a concussion with no issue with his neck.
Mid-way through the first half the Panthers cracked the whitewash first as youngster, Watene Zelezniak scored his first NRL try. Peter Wallace and Dean Whare combined to link with the Panthers winger, Penrith 4-0 leaders.
In the shadows of half time, Josh Mansour was gifted a four-pointer as Jamie Soward placed a floating pass onto his chest. The magical play from the five-eighth in the wet conditions gave the Panthers an 8-0 lead after 40 minutes.
The Raiders posted their only points of the match in the 54th minute as charging front rower, Paul Vaughan finished off a line break from fullback, Anthony Milford. The Raiders made it a 2 point game, 8-6.
Remember the name, Dallin Watene Zelezniak, his speed and skill will see him a future NRL star. The youngster picked up his second try in the final ten minutes as Peter Wallace placed a well weighted kick to the western corner. Penrith extended their lead to 12-6
Soward looked to put the game beyond doubt in the following set from the try, however, his field goal attempt just away from the uprights.
It's credit to the Raiders who kept fighting for points until the full time siren, forcing two line drop outs in the final five minutes. However, it wasn't to be as the Panthers held on to claim a 12-6 victory.
Next week the Panthers will open up Sportingbet Stadium again as they clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday Night. While the Raiders return to the Nation's capital when they battle with the Newcastle Knights.